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Day 15 Light Winds

The winds have been light out of the east, making sailing pretty slow. Gone are the blistering 6+ knots of speed. We are usually running between 4 and 5 knots. Having calmer seas is a nice break from getting tossed and slammed. I have mixed feelings about it because I like the solid strong winds because you can just trim the boat and hold on. The lighter winds are usually more work and I'm paranoid that they'll die.

Nonetheless, we've been making steady progress, but due to the wind angle we've been creaping northward. The forecast shows that the wind might build more out of the north, which would allow us to reach faster and head a bit back south for a good approach into Hilo. We'll just have to wait and see. So far NOAA's forecasts have been accurate.

I do wish we could stop somewhere and hike around or do some walking. Sitting/living in a small boat for long periods of time turns your legs into toothpicks. There's a solo woman sailor going around the world non-stop. I believe she's from the North West and she checks into the Pacific Seafarer's net every night. I have to wonder what it must be like for her, day after day, alone on her boat for months. She just passed under Australia and is working her way east. That's got to be a long and lonely trip.

Day 15 -- Middle of Nowhere

Posted on Saturday Apr 20, 2013

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Time really is a blur. I somehow convinced myself that I counted the days wrong yesterday. Now I've convinced myself that I was wrong again. Not that I'm really paying that much attention to time. The only thing we've been watching is 130W because that it about the middle point in the passage. I'm happy to report we are well past the midpoint at 131W.

Whoo hoo! I saved two cold beers to mark the progress. It's all downhill now, right? Right?!

I could rapture you with more stories of dumped food items, cold weather and getting sprayed with salt water, but I won't. The fact is I managed not to spill anything yesterday or today, the weather has warmed up a few degrees and the winds are down out of the upper teens to 20's and blowing at a nice 12-15. So not much in the ocean spray report either. In fact we are able to fly a little more sail with the gusts being lower and we're keeping a good 5.5 to 6+ knot speed on a MUCH smoother sea.

I've already been browsing restaurants in Hilo on the GPS. Too soon? Probably, but Thai Kitchen is saving a table.

Day 14


I think I miscounted my days in the last post. I'm a bit groggy I guess.

Now that we are in some consistant winds and not having to constantly change course/sails or beat upwind time has sort of gone into a warp of sorts. The days are blending and boat keeps on moving. We've had to put up a weather cloth to keep the sea out of the cockpit and we are still taking waves occasionally. The brillant blue water looks amazing like an electric blueberry color, but it's cold.

And it's been cold for days. There's been no sun for almost a week now and the night watches require multiple layers. I'm probably repeating myself in these posts, but dman it's cold.

In about 72 miles we will reach the half way point to Hilo. All this time I've been a bit worried about Jordan's paperwork for the 5 day or less quarenteen procedure for rabis free Hawaii. It turns out I had reason to be worried. Apparently a few days after we left PV Sherrell was informed by Hawaii that Jordan didn't qualify. She almost told us to turn around.

One of our 2 proofs of rabis said "Macho" and didn't have all the proper names filled in, so they rejected our application. All this in spite of the passing labratory test results and other proof of vaccine. Sherrell then spent the past week trying to track down the vet and get a letter to correct the vaccine information. This vet was in Oxacca, so you can imagine how hard it was for Sherrell to track her down, explain the situation, and get the letter faxed (no fax machine around). Needless to say Sherrell pulled it off and got Jordan back on the approved list.

Day 13

Posted on Thursday Apr 18, 2013

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The wind is still blowing and the seas are a washing machine mix of NW and NE with some E and some SW just for fun. With a double reefed main and the staysail we are managing 5.5 knots through the slop. Last night Michael got doused by a wave that came into the cockpit. He was wearing waterproof gear fortunately but it's never fun taking a night time salt water shower.

We are closing in our half way point and currently we are west of the contential United States.

I made chili last night but not without some difficulty. Everything was rolling and bouncing around. My bowl full of dried beans took a tumble, sending beans everywhere inside the boat. I think we'll be finding them for months. Then as I was working on the seasoning, the entire bottle chili powder tipped over and dumped out. That was a huge mess. And if that's not enough, when I served my bowl, I turned to put the lid back on the pot as we rolled really hard the bowl which was on a non skid pad didn't slide, but rather just tipped over and dumped out my chili. Great. The chili turned out good and it's nice for this cold weather.

And it is cold. I'm wearing nylon layer with polor fleace and then full foul weather gear on top with a winter hat. I was finally able to do my night shift without shivering. There's been no sun for days making things cold, gloomy and damp.

Day 12 -- Wind Full Tilt Crazy

Posted on Wednesday Apr 17, 2013

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We did 130 miles in the last 24 hours and are on target to repeat that again. The down side it is very uncomfortable and COLD. Freezing cold. I'm in full foul weather gear and we had a light cold sprinkle to top off our 20-25 knots of NE wind.

It's a bumpy ride and we're hanging on tight.

Day 11

We've finally picked up some more wind and have been moving nicely for a while now. We are officially further west than Seattle now (a personal goal). In this trip though we still have many miles to go. In fact we are not even half way there yet. Theoretically the winds should be better and better as we get further out into the ocean. They are starting to turn NE slowly which is a good sign. The forecast shows 10-18 knots for the next couple of days. Hopefully we'll be able to settle in and make some miles.

We're experimenting with our watch schedule so we're doing something like a 8/8/4/4 for longer sleeping intervals. That is 7pm-3am, 3am-11am, 11am-3pm, 3pm-7pm. I've found that every boat does something different when it comes to watches because it all depends on the crew and often the conditions. We need a nother day or two to adjust to the new schedule to see how it goes.

So far the food is holding up well. We no longer have: bananas, grapefruit. Everything else is still fresh because the weather has been cold and cloudy. Mid day temperature is 71F...burr.

Day 10

The last couple of days the winds have been really light. I think we've only managed about 75 miles a day. However we got some wind last night and this afternoon so we are moving again. The forecast shows more wind tomorrow from the NE! This will be nice change from NW. When it does blow we've been walking on the walls due to the healing. No complaints though.

We've been completely becalmed several times to the point where the ocean turns glassy and that is worse than "climbing" round the bucking boat when it blows.

It really is hard to believe how much water is out here until you try crossing it at walking speed. It seems endless and the depth beneith us right now is about 13,952 feet.

D8 -- no trades

Posted on Saturday Apr 13, 2013

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We are manging to make at least about 100 miles a day even though the wind is terribly light. Right now we are doing only 2.8 to 3.3 knots. However at times the wind picks up and wisks us along at 5.1 knots like it is right at this instant.

We have our tow generator out, but it doesn't seem to be producing much power for some reason. It's a bit hard to separate because it is wired into the solar right now. It would be nice if we could produce some extra power during the night so we have extra to spare for watching movies, etc. I'll look at it closer once it is dark and the solar power isn't mixed in with the numbers.

Mostly we have been reading and playing a few games while we watch the endless ocean pass under us. The days are starting to blend together just like the view. I saw a massive meteor last night that lit up the sky and exploded into dust. It crossed most of the visable sky in less than 3 seconds so it must have been moving at an incredible speed, unlike us. One day at a time, right?

The ocean is beautiful and clear blue out here. Ocassionaly we see a bird or two and wonder what they are doing out here. It feels like the middle of the middle of nowhere, but then a ship shows up and tries to run us down. In fact just when I thought we had escaped most of civilization, the VHF crackled to life with "This is Vessel Assist. Are you in an emergency situation?" And the garbled answer followed. This could only have orginated from California which is about 800 miles north of us. A 25W signal going 800 miles is pretty impressive and rare. We haven't heard any other blips since that one.

Day 7

The winds continue to be light, but there has been enough for us to make about 108 miles in the last 24 hours. So we are doing ok. Right now we are going between 3 knots and 5 knots with the nylon drifter up in place of the genoa. The winds continue their pattern of surging and then abating just they are pretty week between 5knots and 9 or 10.

Fortunately we've been able to keep the boat moving without use of the engine. However the drifter is making a strange sound in the bow sprit which I've been unable to figure out. That always makes me a bit nervous. With about 2200 miles to go to Hilo we are slowly approaching the 1/3rd mark, perhaps tomorrow we'll hit it.

The forcast continues to be for light winds for several days :(

Day 6

Posted on Thursday Apr 11, 2013

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So what's the deal? 450 miles off shore and a ship comes from a bearing of 30 degrees off our stern and is crossing within 0.2 nm of our position. We haven't seen anything for almost 2 days and this guy shows up and tries to run us down. We tried hailing them (Northern Pola) on the radio with no response. Then we had to drive off course for about 2 miles before we were sure he would miss us. I thought we would be alone out here away from those guys.

On the plus side we have been making good progress and keeping good speed. However at about 4pm today we completely lost the wind and after flogging for some time I did a fuel count and decided we can still motor some more.
Nothings worse than when you are ripping along at 6+ knots and then the wind dies.

The winds have been quite weird. They seem to surge up and down rythmically. I started timing them and found a regular interval of 2.5 minutes weaker and 3.5 minutes stronger. This seems to be most dramatic at night. During the surges we hit 5.7 to 6.3 knots. The tempo changes throughout the day and night with the day getting longer weak times. Pretty odd.